Overtime overview.

Author:Soronen, Lisa

Twenty-one states are suing the U.S. Department of Labor over new overtime rules that make it likely that more state government employees will qualify for overtime pay.

The changes could be quite costly to state governments that employ more than 5 million people nationwide.

The states are seeking an injunction to prevent the new rules from going into effect on Dec. 1.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, adopted in 1938, regulations exempted certain "white collar" employees who made $23,660 or more a year from having to be paid overtime if they worked more than 40 hours a week.

The states argue the Department of Labor exceed its authority last May when it issued final rules that nearly doubled that salary--to $47,476 a year.

The Labor Department also raised the salary threshold for highly compensated employees--who aren't eligible for overtime no matter their job duties--from $100,000 to $134,000 a year. The rules automatically update the salary level every three years for white collar and...

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